Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp's Hot Seat Could Get Scorching Down the Stretch
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Now, it's official. Florida head coach Will Muschamp is on the hot seat.
His Gators fell to rival Georgia, 23-20, on Saturday afternoon in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in a game that was littered with miscues, penalties and sloppy play on both sides of the ball from both teams.
It was ugly, which is par for the course for a Muschamp-coached Gator team both by design and by necessity.
It also served as confirmation that Muschamp has some serious questions to answer regarding the future of this program.
The Gators have had injuries this season—eight that have cost players the season, in fact. But that doesn't excuse the inept offense—an offense that's been inept through good health and bad.
Just how bad has it been for the Gators this season?
When quarterback Tyler Murphy capped off a five-play, 50-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, it served as a landmark achievement for the Gators in all the wrong ways, according to Paul Myerberg of USA Today:
That's Florida's second TD drive of more than 15 yards since Oct. 5.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 2, 2013
Florida doesn't have playmakers. They exist on the roster, but they aren't being developed.
That's on Muschamp and the entire Gators coaching staff.
Muschamp is now 13-9 in the SEC in his two-and-a-half seasons in Gainesville, a worse mark than former Florida head coach Ron Zook had in 2004 when he was notified of his termination (he was 14-7 at the time).
What's worse news for Muschamp is that he's 0-3 against rival Georgia, 4-4 on the season and has tough games at South Carolina and versus Florida State left on the schedule. At this point, 6-6 isn't just a possibility—it's a probability.
Think about that for a second. A 6-6 record is now the likely record for the Florida Gators—a team littered with tradition located in a recruiting hotbed.
Just imagine the uproar if they lose to Vanderbilt.
Counting his four losses in the series as a player for Georgia, Muschamp is now 0-7 in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. He doesn't care much about it though, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
"I don't spend two seconds thinking about that," said Muschamp. "I just move on. We have to coach our football team and control the things you can control, and that's what we're going to do."
Florida shouldn't be this bad on offense, regardless of injuries. There's enough talent both within the state of Florida at the high school level and on campus to allow the Gators to put together some semblance of offense, regardless of injuries.
Muschamp's seat is hot, and at this point, he absolutely will be coaching for his job during the 2014 campaign. But if the Gators sputter down the stretch, you can bet your bottom, top and middle dollars that there will be a behind-the-scenes push from a small (or large) group of influential boosters to let him go sooner.
Want proof? According to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, Muschamp got into it with a fan after the game:
Will Muschamp just got into a shouting match with a Florida fan on his way off the field. The guy was giving Muschamp the finger.— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) November 2, 2013
If that doesn't reek of desperation, nothing does.
Should Will Muschamp be the head coach of the Florida Gators in 2014?
It's been almost three years since Muschamp was hired. While former head coach Urban Meyer did leave him with more of a track team than a football team, that excuse was applicable two years ago, not in November 2013.
The problem now is philosophy, one that emphasizes ball control, wearing out an opposing defense and keeping the Gators defense fresh for a full 60 minutes. That's not easy to change midseason, and it's become apparent that whether or not an offensive philosophy change coincides with the dismissal of offensive coordinator Brent Pease, something needs to be done.
If Muschamp isn't careful, though, he may not make it to the offseason and be afforded the luxury of making that choice.
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